Tuesday, 16 February 2021
As our nation recovers from the global pandemic, spending on infrastructure is going to be key. That is why the Australian government has a $110 billion rolling plan for transport infrastructure alone. We know what this means to the growth of not just metro but regional and rural areas across the country. Yes, it creates jobs, but, I suggest to you, it's far more strategic than that. We need to ensure that we are investing in infrastructure to keep ahead of the population curve.
If you take my region of the Sunshine Coast as an example, the Sunshine Coast as a region will have a population of over half a million people 20 years from now. It's therefore incumbent on all tiers of government to do their bit to invest in infrastructure to keep ahead of that population curve. We are doing that with a $181 million concessional loan at the airport, over $3.2 billion on the Bruce Highway between Pine River and Gympie and a $390 million contribution to the North Coast rail line.
Let me touch on that rail line. The rail service between Brisbane and Nambour is woeful. That's why we as a government have contributed $390 million for upgrades between Beerburrum and Nambour. It's the first time a federal government has made such a contribution to that stretch of rail, which is owned and operated by the state government. I'm proud of that, because sometimes you need teamwork to get stuff done. With stage 1 of those works soon to get underway, I believe it's teamwork that we need again to redesign stage 2. Instead of the current plan, which is to upgrade stations and look at passing loops north of Landsborough, what we need now is full duplication of the rail line all the way through to Nambour—ideally, designed in a way that will accommodate the possibility of faster rail when the time comes.
What we need for this is unity. What we need for this is a team effort. We need all three tiers of government—federal, state and local—and we need the business sector and the community at large working together. Only with a team effort can we ensure that Nambour and its surrounding district gets what it deserves, which is full duplication and accommodation for fast rail in the future. Get onboard.